Font


Design

Text for Proofing Fonts

9th June 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Jonathan Hoefler, on the problem with panoramas when proofing fonts:

In years past, our proofs were full of pangrammatic foxes and lynxes and the rest, which made for some very merry reading. But invariably, I’d find myself staring down a lowercase J — and if I questioned the amount of space assigned to its left side, I’d set off in search of some confirmation in the proof. Each time, I’d be reminded that while pangrams delivered all kinds of jocks and japes and jutes and judges, even our prodigious list featured not a single word with a J in the middle. I also started to notice that Xs had an unusually strong affinity for Ys in pangrams, because pangrams make a sport of concision. Words like foxy and oxygen deliver real bang for your buck if you’re out to craft a compact sentence, but to the typeface designer noticing that the pair XY looks consistently wrong, none of these words will reveal which letter is at fault. I’d find myself rewriting the pangrams, popping in an occasional ‘doxology’ to see if the X was balanced between round letters, or ‘dynamo’ to review the Y between flat ones.

It’s an interesting problem, and one I can’t say I’ve ever thought about. But it makes sense that when proofing a font, you’d want to be able to capture a high majority of scenarios, not just a few good looking panoramas that probably aren’t similar to what a real sentence would look like.

However, Jonathan has come up with a proof that tackles things such as the spacing between different types of letters, how each letter looks at the start of a word, what double letters look like, and most likely more things that I won’t understand. Font proofing is certainly nothing I’ve considered before, but I always find it intriguing to see how people identify problems, and especially how they come up with a better solution.

Design

Picking a Great Writing Font →

4th January 2018 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Michael Descy has written a great piece about finding a writing font, and why it isn’t just a waste of time.

Choosing the perfect writing font is a classic way to procrastinate—but it is not a waste of time. Fonts are important. A good font is not only highly legible, it also conveys a subliminal emotional effect on the reader. Naturally, it follows that it will also have similar effects on the writer. A good font will make you feel better while you are writing—maybe because you can read it more easily, or because you find elements of it, its curves or serifs, aesthetically pleasing. Whatever the reason, picking a font that is pleasing can have a profound effect on your writing.

He goes into detail on what makes a good writing font, some considerations you will have to make, and also a bunch of great suggestions.

For myself personally, I’ve always used a monospace font to write with. I once saw someone write about it before, although I can’t remember the source, but they explained how they used monospace fonts while they were writing/editing, and a sans-serif for previews. This is similar to how I feel myself.

Because I write everything I do in Markdown, it still feels like I’m writing code, not a programming language, but still something that has to be deciphered before it’s fit to be seen by anyone else. And for some reason, monospace fonts use feel like they represent something that’s in progress.

So, the font I use for nearly everything is SF Mono. It’s the monospace version of Apple’s San Francisco font, and it’s been my favourite ever since they released it. However, it requires some fiddling to have it installed like a regular font. Before that I used the pretty similar, Andale Mono.

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